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Posts Tagged ‘television’

You Can Save A Lot Of Time With DVR

Monday, March 31st, 2008

You may already know this, but the average block of television programming is 1/3 commercials. One way to verify this is by watching a DVD of a series. One episode runs at about 40 minutes. But wait! Wasn't it on TV taking up a whole hour? That means that 20 of those 60 minutes were commercials!

So, if you are busy, but have some favorite shows, you could build your schedule around them. Or, you could DVR them to watch later. Take that one step further, and fast forward through the ads (like most people do). Then you'll be saving yourself and extra 1/3 of the time.

This is especially useful with movies. DVR the TBS version of "Gone With The Wind" and make it through in record time — only 47 hours!

DVR Lets Kids Watch Dirty Shows

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

I just realized, DVR changes everything! I took a class once where a legal case was mentioned about how some kids pulled some stunt they saw on some TV show. So the court decided to force networks to broadcast the darker material later at night, after kids go to bed.

I've also noticed uncut versions of adult cartoon shows like "Family Guy" and "Drawn Together" (I hate "Drawn Together") aired after midnight. So, kids will never know, right? Wrong!

One of the shows I like is "Seven Days." Time travel show from the late '90's. Airs on Spike TV at 3:00am. But I don't want to stay up that late just to watch it. So, DVR to the rescue!

Some parents might give their kids Tivo (after all, the guy in the commercial did). And the kid says, "Mom and Dad don't know, but I'm going to record this Secret Stash episode at 1:00am and watch it tomorrow. Hee hee!"

So now the court's decision will have little impact in homes where the kids have access to DVR. I love technology, but it's like this is a whole new can of worms!

Ok, so parents could probably block access to those specific episodes. But what a chore! Go through, down the line, episode by episode… And if you just block the series, the kids could complain. "But Mom, I wanted to watch the edited version!" Most parents probably haven't even thought about this stuff, because they don't watch those shows and aren't aware that the uncut versions are available after the Witching Hour.

But probably, most parents didn't get their kids DVR. So what's the problem? No problem, man…Be cool…here, just…just take the cash and go…

TV Fiction Turns Real: Episode Two

Friday, March 7th, 2008

Ok, this is a little late, so please forgive me. But even after all this time, I still think it's interesting. Especially since it has a similar feel to my earlier post about Dr. Venture and Super Science being real.

On Monday, Feb. 25, "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" aired a new episode on Fox. I love that show. At one point in the episode, Cameron (the girl Terminator, protector and aid to the Connors) infiltrated a power station and damaged it in such a way that massive blackouts ensued nearby. She then took advantage of the commotion caused by these blackouts to gather secret information.

On Tues, Feb. 26, in real life, "Widespread outages [were] reported in Florida … [because] a problem with Florida's electrical grid caused a nuclear plant to automatically shut down … and intermittently cut power to up to 3 million people…."

I see three options for an explanation.

Option #1: This whole thing was pure coincidence.

Option #2: Synchronicity is at work, and Dorothy will soon visit the Dark Side of the Rainbow.

Option #3: An Artificial Intelligence has already become self-aware, and is highly amused by the stories of SkyNet. This amusement exists to such an extent that the AI refers to itself by the name "SkyNet," and will attempt to act out what it sees in all forms of media referencing the Terminator. After all, SkyNet see, SkyNet do.

Slime Ball TV Advertisers Revealed

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

A friend of mine works at a TV ad agency, and he recently came across some research material describing ad placement techniques during television shows. You know, those annoying, intrusive blocks that obscure your favorite programming? Here's the text:

We have come to the conclusion that there are further steps that need to be taken in order to maximize ad effectiveness during television broadcasts. Seeing as how this is a fairly new market, overlay ads have many options that need to be considered.

Firstly, placement. Our research indicates a pattern which has been holding consistently for the past eighteen months. While most people tend to look away or ignore an ad when the programming area is compressed, and the ad is shown in the new empty space, they have less propensity to do this when the ad is instead placed over the viewing area. To be clear, we should not simply squeeze a television broadcast (i.e., a show) to make room for an ad. That gives the viewer incentive to limit their perception to just the program viewing area, and they completely ignore our advertisement. Instead, we must leave the show on 100% of the screen, and simply lay our ad over a portion of the entertainment content. Testing has produced evidence that the bottom portion is best. We can technically get away with doing this, since at the most we're only obscuring 20% of the viewing area.

In addition to the "where" issue, there is also the matter of "when." When is it best to show an ad? When viewers are paying the most attention. Therefore, researchers should be requisitioned to watch programs and determine when a viewer is more likely to be curious about the area displayed on the bottom of the screen. For example, during an episode of a mystery television show, the detective discovers a note. He reads it silently to himself, displaying it for the audience to see. Most of the text is near the bottom of the screen. In order to get maximum attention, we should allow the audience the "token second" to view the note, and then obscure it with a relevant ad. That way, we've just gotten our share of eyes which would otherwise have avoided us at all costs. But this is only the half of it.

Further tests indicate that there are far more appropriate moments to show advertising, even when the audience isn't looking at the bottom of the screen. This all comes down to the moment of climax. Most television shows and movies all work toward a short, compact moment, where audience focus is at its peak. Viewers watch from the beginning, are taken for a ride, and are eventually made aware that the most important moment of the show or film is going to occur at any given moment. When it does, they are riveted. We have found that ads obscuring show content during these intense climax moments are, on average, clearly perceived up to 300% more often than those overlaid during non-climax moments. What's more, due to the emotional intensity of these moments, the sales message of an ad will tend to last longer in a person's mind if received during the climax. So obviously, obscuring the most dramatic and intense moments with advertising is the way to go.

While these techniques do prove powerful, preliminary polling shows that audience members are becoming increasingly frustrated with having their programming directly obscured by ads, especially during the points of climax. One viewer even went so far as to say, "They ruined the whole show." But we feel that these frustrations will eventually fade, assuming we continue to effectively communicate that there's nothing viewers can do about it. Of course, even if their displeasure continues to grow, our bottom line is what matters most.

[This was handwritten at the bottom:]
If viewers think they can get away with watching content on the internet with the advertising removed, then we must make up for it by shoving our ads down their ungrateful throats.

Just kidding. I wrote the whole thing myself. But I think I captured the general truth of the matter…